Academic | Posted 20.04.2016

Stonyhurst’s  first ever whole-school Mission was a unique opportunity to focus on our Jesuit ethos and identity. Every pupil, from Hodder House to Higher Line, considered their faith, their unique talents, vocation and the challenges facing the world today.

Award-winning theatre companies, Rise Theatre and Ten Ten, held lively workshops on well-being, happiness and faith. CJM Music led vibrant singing. A range of speakers talked about issues such as religious persecution, the refugee crisis and homelessness; they included Lord Alton and Baroness Cox, Jesuit Missions and Aid for the Church in Need.

There was time for reflection and Jesuit wisdom: Fr Simon Bishop, Fr Matthew Power and Fr Adrian Porter talked about making good decisions, to bring out the best in ourselves, and the examen brought each day to a close at both the College and at SMH.

There was plenty of action too: all College pupils took part in an interline relay-race on the Avenue, raising over £2,000 for Xavier Project, an African refugee charity led by Edmund Page OS. Children at Stonyhurst St Mary’s Hall held a party for senior citizens. Everyone in Higher Line took part in voluntary work at local special schools, care homes and charities.

The principal celebrant at the closing Mass was Fr Philip Endean SJ. On the morning after the appalling terrorist attack in Paris, he said it was worth thinking about the lesson in that accident of timing: “When we talk and sing about letting our lights shine, we’re not talking about something that is easy or cheap. The terrible news shouldn’t take away the joy and enthusiasm with which we celebrate our faith, but it can serve to remind us that the faith we celebrate will always be something of a challenge, a provocation, an expression of hope against the background of a world often tempted towards despair.”

Stonyhurst’s lay chaplain, Sarah Young, who co-ordinated the planning of the Mission, said: “Sometimes it is worth taking a risk and doing something different. This Mission has been different and, by the smiles on people’s faces, it has been worth the risk. It has felt extraordinary and yet it has also been a celebration of our ordinary, everyday endeavour.”

The Headmaster Andrew Johnson said: “This vital time-out from routine has allowed our pupils to grow in self-esteem and to discern how they can make a difference in the world by using their unique gifts and talents. It has given us all time to reflect on what really matters.”